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Law Goalie

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Law Goalie last won the day on July 5 2015

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    Ballistik .52 Calibre SE (goalie) - MSH Long-Term Review

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  1. Law Goalie

    Show off your gear

    Love that cage: Rollie Melanson would be proud. PadSkinz for the blue?
  2. Law Goalie

    Starting in Goal as an Adult

    badger, I can almost guarantee the tilt is being caused by the interaction of your pants and thigh-boards with your pads. Seriously, get rid of the thigh-boards and find yourself some knee-pads. Whatever annoyances the knee-pads may present, they are nothing on the problems that thigh protection attached to the back of the pads can cause. If you can find a pair of John Brown's, they are worth their weight in gold; failing that, the new CCM KPPRO ones look promising. I talked about them a fair bit in the 2015 CCM catalogue review, but I haven't had a chance to get my hands on them yet. It's also possible that your pants themselves are jamming on the backs of the pads. Remind me: what pants/pads are you using? If they have flat thighs, large ridges on the outside or inside of the thigh, or thick padding on the inside of the thigh (around the leg) the pants may also be among the culprits. That said, there are some technical improvements that can make modern pads behave a little better. The main thing is to try to be as 'snappy' or 'crisp' with your knees as possible. When you're driving your knees down, really drive that movement with internal hip rotation; conversely, when you're recovering, snap the knee(s) back up through external rotation. As long as your pads are strapped properly -- loose enough to allow your knee to rotate behind the pad, but not so loose that you're falling out of them -- your pads will stay facing forward (ie. square to the plane of your body) consistently. Snapping your knees down will ensure that they don't get 'jammed' at the corner of the back of the pad and the knee-block, and snapping them up will ensure that the pad stays square as your knee returns to a standing position. You can practise this without full recoveries. Butterfly, then snap one knee up (until your skate-blade is on the ice) then slam it down again, and alternate; when you feel like you're getting really good coordination, you can start lifting the alternate leg while the other is still going down. From there, it's just a short move to the 'impressive' (but only minimally useful) double-leg or 'pop-up' recovery, which doesn't require anything like the core strength or balance that many people think it does. If you find yourself trapping or squeezing a lot of pucks on top of your pads, that's usually a sign that a goalie is holding his (or her) hands a little far back. Try holding them well out in front of you, so that they're in your foveal (forward) visual field, rather than in the peripheral field. This may feel utterly bizarre at first -- you may feel like a Romero zombie, reaching out in search of brains -- but your hand/eye will improve dramatically, and, in addition, holding your gloves further forward makes them 'bigger' to the puck's perspective, 'cutting down' the shooting angle even further. (It's like having bigger gloves for free.)
  3. While you may never be able to prevent diffuse axonal injury with a helmet, there are certainly ways to make helmets that help to dissipate shearing impacts. The problem is that they invariably create either disposable or mechanically complex helmets, and always very expensive ones, and those aren't things most hockey players are willing to accept. Even among goalies, who carry a minuscule risk of concussion (properly speaking) but an enormous risk of repeated sub-clinical trauma (which we're barely beginning to understand), very, very few goalies are willing to spend money to protect their brains.
  4. Really, really interesting observations, Hills. I'm using a couple of skates, presently: Flexlites in CCM Customlite cowlings, S15 boots in Bauer 3mm Vertexx cowlings (that was a pain in the ass to arrange, thanks to the stupid bump in the outsole of the S15s), and I'm working on a set of Flexlites in Graf 7500s. The way that seems to work for most is to have the toe of the cowling against the inside of the post and the toe of the pad against the front of the post; the pad will sort of end up squeezed between the cowling and the toe of the pad. DS in there above videos isn't super accurate; sometimes his skate-blade's on the post, sometimes his cowling. Ah, got it: I thought you were saying that recoveries from the SMS was the issue with pads not re-centring, but it's really a no toe-ties thing. I actually did have a few issues with my pads not re-centring out of the SMS at first, so I just assumed. Interesting about the ankles. I've just noticed generally that at the end of a couple hours on the ice, regularly using the SMS against open play, my ankles and lower calves got more of a workout than when I was using the VH in similar situations. (And to be clear, I'm by no means a paragon of fitness and flexibility at the moment.) I'll test it out the next time I'm on the ice, to see whether I can replicate the ankle stress you're describing: something to investigate further, certainly. To your last point, re: the videos, you nailed it -- it is a butterfly shuffle, at heart -- but there's an extra component. In a BF shuffle on open ice, your groin is doing all the work: extend the lead knee, push with the back knee, pull together, repeat. (There's an awesome ice-level video of Brian Elliott knee-shuffling somewhere on the internet; he's doing it so fast it looks like his thigh-rises are cards being shuffled in a deck.) What Sidor does a decent job of demonstrating is that the slide out of the SMS is, as you observe, a huge BF shuffle boosted by a push off the post, and secondarily by his core movement from the compressed position in the SMS to an upright BF. (If you just lean back and then snap your torso upright forcefully, you'll generate a little bit of momentum; not much, but it all adds up.) Quick's recovery from the SMS into a 'T-push' (sort of) is illustrative: it's basically a lunge from the knees up to the lead foot, with a little extra 'boost' from the push off the post. Both of them could probably do similar moves on empty ice (which is what would rip you and I in half) but the extra leverage makes a big difference.
  5. I suspect you'll find that doing cowling-to-post (which I rather like as a term) will alleviate a surprising amount of the strain you're feeling in the SMS. It doesn't seem like much in terms of distance, but it makes a significant difference in my experience. I notice strain on the ankles (specifically the strong-side ankle, close to the post) primarily when transitioning to the SMS from an upright stance; when I slide into the base of the post in the BF and lean back, less so. In fact, I've actually started staying off the post in low-angle perimeter situations, just so I can easily slide back in as needed. It's worked well so far, but I'm not sure about it as a consistent tactic. I haven't noticed that issue with the pad not 're-centring' (for lack of a better term) on the knee when recovering from the SMS-- at least not with the Rituals. Then again, I'm only using two straps -- a two-into-one knee/upper calf strap and a boot-strap -- and no toe connection at all. I also removed the outer half of the knee-lock. I might suggest having a look at strap tightness through the calf and knee, but I suspect what you're describing is just a result of your not being quite so used to the movements involved in the SMS. What actually 're-centres' the pad on the leg isn't the toe-ties but the movement of the knee, governed by the rapid external rotation of the hip. Since (I assume) your pads are behaving perfectly in the VH and BF, I'd guess that you just need to adapt your athleticism a little more to the SMS, get a little more explosive and a little less tentative in your movements, and so on. I thought I'd also throw up a couple of interesting demonstration videos. They're from a guy called Dusan Sidor: a 1987 goalie who's played primarily in Italy. He's got great athleticism -- check out the cartwheel celebration in the third video! -- and moves really well, in general, though I am really annoyed with his tendency to 'pop' like a dancer in his movement demos, flashing his hands and feet around as nothing but a distraction. Fair warning: these are highly stylized, very choreographed, programmatic movements. I'd never ask a goalie to move like this, but as a pure demonstration, the repeated, robotic movements do allow us to get a more consistent look at the techniques. In this first video, what most interests me is how he pivots using his weak-side skate, and how smooth his movement is some of the time: In this second video he's much more explosive in his movements (and less sound), but it's still interesting to see how he generates power from the SMS: And finally, the cartwheel celebration (skip to ~1:45):
  6. I've had a few people ask me this over the years, on and off MSH, so I thought a brief and informal guide might be helpful. The selection of goalies for a team is one of the most important decisions a head coach can make. Increasingly, I've seen coaches delegate this to the team's goalie coach, on the theory that goaltending is so specialised that only a goalie coach can properly evaluate goalies. Despite being a goalie coach myself (when I'm lucky enough to fit it in), I do not recommend this. I think it's important for the head coach to get as much information as he/she can about the goalies they are considering, and part of that should, ideally, involve the services of an impartial goalie coach-- that is, one whose critical reputation is beyond reproach, or who has no vested interest in any of the goalies (eg. thousands of dollars of private coaching, paid by the goalie's parents). If, however, your team or association can’t afford a goalie coach (fair enough!), or can’t find one willing to donate his/her time (one of them really should, if you ask), there are a few ways you can evaluate goaltenders without expert advice. I will also admit that there are a lot of ‘materials’ posted on the internet for evaluating goalies: evaluation rubrics, grading sheets, guidelines, and so on. I have yet to see one of these that provided enough information for it to be used reasonably by a person who was not already expert in goaltending, or, worse, that was simply a useless piece of pseudo-pedagogy. The purpose of most such materials, in general and far beyond hockey, is not to meaningfully understand or evaluate the students at hand, but to confuse and impress the people who are responsible for evaluating the instructor/evaluator. Huge, jargon-riddled rubrics appear impressive to most people who haven't had extensive experience in education, and they are impressive in large part because they seem indecipherably complicated and specialised. In almost every case, this is pure illusion; it is the superficial appearance of rigour where none in fact exists. Secondarily, such 'evaluation rubrics' serve as a red herring for the instructor/evaluator to shift any potential dispute over the evaluation from the coach to the written material. Any question as to why one goaltender was picked over another can be deflected away from the decision of the coach to the training materials; only a very rhetorically diligent person will know not to attempt to argue the curriculum or rubric and bring the matter back to the decisions made by the teacher. The materials are, in part, a trap into which potential conflicts can be diverted. What follows is a general guide through a single tryout icetime at which you may be evaluating goalies. However, even before the tryouts have begun, try to get as much information as you can on your potential goalies. Got to some of their games if you can (ie. if you have the time and inclination), but video is great as well-- and by video I mean raw video, not a highlight pack, preferably taken from right behind the net at the end nearest the goalie. Send this video to a goalie coach for evaluation. Some goalie coaches charge for this, but most will be happy to review a game or two and write a short summary of their observations as a one-time courtesy for a goalie; the real work of a goalie coach happens in true video analysis, that is, in videos that are essentially lectures on subjects relevant to the goalie in question, and in on-ice tutorials. As a courtesy, I will happily review video of any goalie any MSH member sends me. All you have to do is post the video on Youtube and PM me the link. I'd suggest making the subsequent discussion public on MSH, but that it entirely a matter of privacy. (If you want to send me a little thank-you in beer-money, that's fine, but not even remotely requisite.) As you approach the tryouts/camp, figure out which of your on-ice assistants (or possibly you yourself) will be watching the goalies (see below), and send them whatever information you have. You'll want this to include a brief outline of each goalie, as well as any specific evaluations you want done. If the evaluators have questions, they should ask well in advance. If you anticipate a tough decision on the goalies at the tryouts, have a couple of people record them. This, too, can be sent to a goalie coach for evaluation. On the day: 1) Before the goalies hit the ice, unless you’re handing out jerseys or pinnies with numbers on the front, you’re going to need to get some identifying information. My suggestion is to note down the colour of the jersey and mask, and the colours and brand of the pads. It’s easier to say to another coach, “Check out the kid in the black sweater and white Reeboks,” than “That one with the big pads.” Do not do this in advance; goalies often show up to tryouts, against all reason, with brand new gear, and if you've identified them incorrectly in your prepared materials, your evaluators will get confused. 2) While you are (or your assistant is) jotting down the above info, please make sure they’re wearing safe, approved masks. A helmet and cage is fine at lower levels and ages; a road hockey mask is not. You would be amazed how many times a quite competent goalie with cheap or stupid parents, or a goalie who is just painfully fashion-conscious and wants to ‘look like the big boys at the tryout’ will try to pull that one off. Please also check their cages for any obviously broken welds or damaged wires as you would any other player's cage. The last thing you want is to have your tryout effectively suspended by a kid by a kid who has to be taken off the ice with a steel bar stuck in his eye. 3) When the goalies go on the ice, it is imperative that you have one coach/evaluator to watch each group of goalies. Even if they’re starting in one group and then going to different nets, you need to have a set of eyes on each set of goalies at all times. You don't want to miss anything. For generations, coaches have selected goalies based largely on who they happen to notice: what catches their eyes. They watch the practise as a whole, and when they notice a goalie getting burned or making a ‘big save’, they take note. A coach who evaluates goalies this way will only make the right selection by accident. Dominant goaltenders at your tryouts will not make ‘big saves’; they won’t need to. They will be so in control, so far ahead of the play that you won’t even notice them. They will be invisible to you, and you’ll end up picking the kid who was so continually behind the play and so desperately scrambling to keep up that you ‘noticed’ the saves he was making, and ‘noticed’ his apparent effort. If you pick goalies based on what you ‘notice’ in the run of a tryout, you are picking your goalies based on a highlight reel: an unreliable, misleadingly selective sample. 4) When the goalies hit the ice, make them do at least a little ‘open skating’ with the players, whether it’s laps, circles, or whatever. This will not tell you who the best goalies are, but it will tell you if they can skate and move athletically in their equipment. Don’t worry about their point-to-point speed, and focus their edge control instead. However, forcing goalies to skate circles for more than a lap or two quickly becomes pointless: a little is fine, and very informative; too much is a waste of icetime. If some of this open skating involves puck-control, that is totally fine: a goalie who can handle the puck well, especially while skating, can be a terrific asset, and one who doesn’t handle it well can be developed through the year with proper coaching. Make note of this. 5) As early as possible, break the goalies off into a separate group (or groups) for evaluation. The first thing you’ll want to evaluate is movement. Any goalie who has had any training will be able to give you a demonstration of basic skating movements. You don't need to provide any specifics: just tell the goalie you want them to show you their basic skating movements. This is a good warmup for them, but not an especially useful tool for evaluation, because of the phenomenon of ‘the driving range goalie’. The driving range goalie is one who appears to move remarkably well in a skating demonstration, but has no idea how to apply that sort of movement to preventing goals or stopping shots. To put it another way, a driving range goalies will be able to perform a variety of highly stylized and choreographed ‘dance moves’ in his equipment, but will be unable to translate that impressive demonstration into a game or even a game-like situation. The driving-range goalie is an ice-dancer in an armoured suit, not an ice hockey goaltender. He has been trained like a seal to move this way in order to impress two groups of people, for the benefit of one person: the intended audience is the goalie and his family on the one hand, and coaches who don't know better on the other. That said, any goalie who has had a reasonable amount of training will be able to show you some basic skating movements, and to describe to the non-expert coach what he/she just demonstrated. This also lets you get a sense of the kid’s attitude and verbal capacity. 6) The next step is to throw a wrinkle at the goalies that can expose a driving range goalie’s dependence on choreography. Tell the goalies, one at a time, to imagine a play or a series of plays unfolding in front of them, skating and moving as they would to address such a play. Suggest that a 5-on-3 power play might be a good example. When the goalies finish, ask them to explain the imaginary play they faced. Goalies who fall into repetitive movements, and who can’t give a good explanation of their movements, lack imaginative power this is crucial for goalies to develop strong anticipation, and to learn from their experiences. Still, this isn’t enough. 7) Now that you/your non-specialist evaluator has seen the goalies skating for a while, they’ll probably have a pretty good sense of who’s who, and what they can do. As a final puck-free movement exercise, pair the goalies up with their apparent competitors (and make note of the pairings) and have those pairs play ‘The Mirror Game’ one pair at a time. The goalies will probably have all done this before, but if they haven’t, the basic idea is that one goalie in the pair is the ‘lead’ and the other is the ‘mirror’. The lead makes movements — skating movements, save movements, head-stands, whatever — and the mirror has to duplicate them as quickly and reliably as possible. After a little while (age appropriate) give them a short beak, and then switch them, so that the mirror now leads the other goalie. This allows you to start to make direct comparisons of movement and skating skills. 8) At some point, you’re going to want to shoot on these goalies, and they're going to want to show you what they can do in live play. When the shooting drills start, draw a strict distinction between drills that contain reasonable and unreasonable scoring situations. For example, a drill that presents a goalie with an endless stream of wing rushes -- including, of course, some players who will ignore instructions to shoot at an arbitrary distance and will insist on showing you their shootout moves -- is not a reasonable set of scoring chances. In a game, the puck does not magically teleport back to another play who is approaching at full speed the second it touches the goalie's body. In fact, even if you can provide adequate time in between shots for the goalie not only to recoer to his/her feet, but to reset to the centre of the crossbar (See the "Inside-Out" angles thread...) skate to their desired position, stop, and then face the next shot, this still doesn't tell you much if anything about the goalie, except that they play their angles correctly under very limited conditions. However, sometimes in the course of evaluating skaters it is necessary to use your goalies as shooter-tutors. Fair enough: goalies are, at most, roughly one-tenth of a team's players, and they can't receive constant preferential treatment. They're there for themselves, but also for the team's use. During unreasonable drills that will tell you nothing meaningful about the goalies, make sure they get to rotate in and out of net regularly, and have your evaluators watch the goalies who are not facing shots. Do they look exhausted, or do they look like this is pretty easy for them? If they look like it's easy for them, you may want to scrutinize their work rate and compete level; if they look exhausted, fitness may be a concern. You may want to take a kid who has talent but lacks conditioning, in the hope that you can get him into some good off-ice habits, or you may not; you may want to ask about that in an interview, or conduct some off-ice testing. Maybe the kid who isn't working hard knows the drill is pointless, and is intelligently saving himself, but maybe it's a sign that he's aloof and uninvolved. Are they paying attention, or horsing around? If they're horsing around, is one of them instigating? Is it harmless fun or something less desirable? Maybe your team needs a little levity in the dressingroom; you might or might not want that in the mix, given the emotional composition of the rest of your team. Make a note to observe them off the ice on that basis, and maybe in an interview later. If they're paying attention, are they anti-socially ignoring everyone around them, or are they relaxed and conversant but dialled-in on the task at hand? If a kid is essentially mute on the ice, you'll definitely want to see how he interacts off the ice with his potential team-mates, and probably speak to him later. You may be fine taking on a goalie-savant, or you may not. Some kids are just quiet but otherwise entirely good; others are quiet because something's off. Try to find out. Especially if you're coaching contact hockey, you need a goalie who can communicate, at least to the extent of giving his D simple heads-up and directional calls, if not running the entire defensive scheme himself. Personally, I love to see a goalie who works on his/her movement between drills, and especially if that time is used to imaginatively reconstruct and respond to prior scoring plays. A goalie who has the imaginative capacity to be his/her own video analyst by sheer strength of memory is not only a great asset to a team, but a kid worth some investment: this is a human who is learning to learn in very interesting ways. 9) A few drills never to use when evaluating goalies, but which are used constantly to evaluate goalies (poorly!): A) the 'Horseshoe';B) the 'alternating Horseshoe';C) the 'rapid-fire', where one stationary coach/evaluator/player sits in the slot pounding one puck after another at a stationary goalie; possibly the stupidest drill ever invented.D) any version of the 'rapid-fire' involving pointless 'up-and-downs' or leg-flailing between shots. Some coaches often perform these drills to 'test' goalies because they simply don't know any better, or because they can't think of an alternative. That's by no means ideal for the goalies or for the team, but it is understandable. However, any goalie coach you see performing the above drills should be 'rapidly fired' on the spot, with the sole exception of a coach who can explain instantly that the purpose of the drill was to show the goalie(s) that such drills are utterly futile. Even if the goalie coach is a volunteer, you do not want this person near your goalies one minute longer if he thinks these are legitimate exercises. Thank the coach for his/her time, throw the coach off the ice, and give your goalies something more athletically meaningful to do, like some trigonometry problems or an essay on Pindar. 10) As soon as possible, try to get the goalies to face some game-like situations. I don't mean starting a scrimmage, of course, but creating drills that end in realistic scoring chances. Small-area games are especially good for this, and if the rink has extra nets, you can have four, six, even eight goalies under evaluation at once. Such drills do not and should not be entirely for the goalies' benefit; any drill that can be used to evaluate goal-scoring ability under realistic conditions can also be used to evaluate goal-tending. A few sub-suggestions: A) see how the goalies handle plays behind and around the net, with a variety of defensive situations (e.g. a 2v1 with one player below and one above the goal-line);B) see how the goalie handles power-play situations: are they constantly chasing the play, or do they seem to be one step ahead mentally and positionally?C) unless your league has shootouts, the only breakaway that will tell you anything about the goalie is a breakaway with pursuitD) puck battles (eg. with two skaters starting side-by-side at the blue-line and a loose puck in the high slot) can be very telling; some goalies are actually better against breakaways than 1v1s, because the defensive player throws in a degree of unpredictability that some goalies can't handle well.E) simple screen-drills (e.g with a single player screening/tipping pucks at the top of the crease) are an excellent way to test your goalies with a realistic but readily observable, less contingent situation.F) if you're going to run dump-in/break-out drills, even with younger goalies, try to get them involved; dump a few right on the net, but also a few near the net; see how they handle it. Some goalies will jump on any puck in front of them and cover it; this is a good chance to see how coachable they are, whether they can listen and adapt. 11) After the first tryout (or at least the first one with goalies), get together with your evaluators and go over what they've seen. At this point, you can correlate any prior information you might have with what the evaluators observed at the tryout, but bear in mind that evaluators (particularly non-specialists) may have different standards. What you're looking for, really are two things: reasoned rankings within each instructor's group, and of those ranked goalies, who do they consider to be genuine candidates at this level of play. This will allow you to do two things: eliminate goalies who simply can't handle the level of play, and create more relevant groupings for the next skate. Ultimately, you may have the same number of goalies at both of the first two skates; don't cut anyone you aren't obligated to cut. In some ways, this would be the best outcome, since what you really want to do is to create new groupings of similarly ranked goalies, putting the best group with your most knowledgeable evaluator, and so on down. This way, you'll get much better contextual information on the goalies, and you can be sure you made the right call. This will also let you contextualise any video you send to a goalie coach for review in terms of who you think the best candidates are. 12) Finally, I'll conclude with a list of things not to allow to unduly influence your judgement: A) Size matters, but less than you'd think; do not pick the biggest goalie merely because he's big. B) Conversely, do not be overly impressed with smaller goalies who zip around like waterbugs merely because they are moving quickly; if the kid grows, that early coordination may go up in smoke, and a superficially 'slower', more methodical goalie may actually be more positionally and athletically sound. (Recall their earlier point about 'goalies you notice' not necessarily being the best ones. C) Resist the urge to be charmed by excessive movements; this relates both to B) above and to the earlier point about driving-range goalies. Some goalies have been trained to add a bunch of silly little 'pops' (to use a term from dance) to their movement; again, they have either been taught to do this by a goalie coach who is trying to impress rather than instruct, or they picked it up from some other show-off goalie and nobody bothered to correct the behaviour. Typical example of exaggerated movement include: little 'kicks' at the end of a stop, excessive waving of the hands and gloves, especially at or above eye-level, swinging of the stick and shoulders, and so on. A good video example, courtesy of Steve McKichan: Any questions, fire away.
  7. Hills, those are awesome shots: nicely staged, some very close to true puck-perspective. (And I'm not a small guy, but damn do I envy your size; we're also both Warrior fans, apparently!) One minor point: I notice that in the SMS shots, you've got your skate-blade against the base of the post. I would suggest experimenting with the blade inside the net, putting the toe of the cowling against the inside of the post and the toe of the pad on the outside (front) of the post. This is something I mentioned briefly in the original post, and minnsy threw up that neat GIF of Lundqvist doing it; I think it hugely improves lateral and diagonal pushes off the post in the SMS, but it also puts a nice finishing touch on the coverage. If you look at the gap created by the skate-blade resting on the post, it corresponds closely to the gap alongside (not above) the top of your shoulder. If you tuck your skate-blade into the net to rest the toe of the cowling on the inside of the post, both of these gaps -- between the pad and the post, and your shoulder and the post -- will shrink to nil. I agree that your glove a bit 'cramped' or locked in the SMS, which is a very common issue with that particular glove location in the SMS. Not only is it locking your arm, it's also creating gaps around your hip and above and below your elbow; you're bending your arm to fit it between your shoulder and the pad, and as you bent it the elbow is pushing your shoulder and your glove off the post. You could experiment with the 'glove-on-the-ice' variation of the SMS (like the Stauber example in the first post) which gives better coverage along the post at the cost of a little vertical coverage, though I'd suggest reserving this for players tighter to the net. My suggestion would be to try flipping your glove around, so that the cuff rather than the T-trap is closer to the pad (more like 'pocket-up' rather than 'fingers up), opening the palm and pocket to the puck (or camera lens), and extending the glove slightly towards the puck to fill up more of the available angle. In SMS Glove-Side Pic #1 (above),m this would leave you with a 'unlocked' active glove hand; in #2, you'd be able to fill in the whole gap at your hip, even if you held your shoulder a little higher (keeping the prior adjustments in mind as well); in #3, holding your glove out a little could completely wipe out the entire aerial angle, effectively smothering any upward shot. (And remember, with your skate-blade inside the post, there won't even be a high short-side shot in #3.) On the blocker-side, I'd similarly suggest getting the blocker off your pad, squaring the board to the puck (lens) and pushing it out into the shooting angle as much as possible; that'll not only fill up more of the gap at your hip, it'll give you a nice, free hand to deal with higher shots. You could also push your shoulder a little higher by really digging in the backside skate, and, again, going to-to-post (blade inside) rather than blade-to-post will fill in that upper gap at the shoulder. On both sides, I'd strongly suggest bringing your weak-side glove (ie. your blocker on the glove side, glove on the blocker-side) off your weak-side pad and out in front of your body. Having that glove (relatively speaking) up and in front of you would help to eliminate that high-far-side, top-corner shot that's open in the more distant SMS photos, but more importantly, would simply get your hands more involved on shots generally, including this into the body. One thing's for sure: you're not giving the shooter much in any of those postures. The one spot I can see a little 'daylight' in your VH is in a spot that the SMS completely seals up from the same perspective. It's mostly visible in the first and fourth VH shots, but you can still see hints of it in the later shots: right between your thighs. I know it's possible to squeeze a shot there, but I've also seen really good goalies 'lay an egg' from time to time, where the puck gets chipped into that gap, they squeeze, and it dribbles out the back. It's also (in my experience) a second shot that smart shooters are starting to look for; if they can't pick a goalie high-short-side, they'll look to throw it in there, especially as the goalie starts to push off with the vertical leg and/or reach with the horizontal leg. Something that's clear from your SMS shots is that your strong (short) side pad is completely covering the bottom 11" of the shooting angle; your weak-side pad can be used entirely for generating peerage, controlling squareness, and (through squareness) getting ready to face a weak-side threat, whether it's a pass, a wrap, or a walk-out. That's actually another great thing about the SMS that I didn't really discuss; I may have to add it to the original post. In case of a low walk-out, a goalie in the VH has to push off the post as the shooter threatens to pass the goalie's midline (nose to navel). Because the midline is both vertical and near the post, the goalie has to push off fairly early. In the SMS, however, the goalie doesn't have to push off until the player has gone all the way around the strong (short) side pad, which is extending about three feet into the crease, and even then the goalie doesn't need to push yet; the goalie merely straightens up as the player comes across, moving into a simple butterfly as the weak-side leg returns to the ice. (This is possible, anatomically, because of the angled midline in the SMS; the nose is near the post, but the navel remains between the pads.) This is why the SMS is so strong against walk-outs: it forces the player to go further out (and thus closer to the D), and the goalie needs smaller, easier adjustments to track the first part of the movement. The one thing that is starting to look a bit dated about Dr. Smith's Ritual/SP6000 pad design is the lateral (outer) calf wedge. I still love it for a variety of reasons -- chiefly that it's a perfect place to hang straps on the lateral side of the pad -- but I've literally never been hit by a puck there. Apart from a bit of red smudging from the posts, the calf-wedges are completely untouched.
  8. It should also be pointed out that these confused and essentially vacuous terms are not only in common use, even among professional athletes, but routinely appear in goaltending publications. In InGoal Magazine's review of the Vaughn Ventus LT98 line, published just a few months ago on 23 March 2015, the following comments appear: To extend my earlier analogy, the geocentric model of the universe seems to be alive and well in goaltending. I suppose that makes InGoal our equivalent of the Flat Earth Society.
  9. A little bump for an earlier thread; kind of amazing how much the thinking has changed! I should probably fix the photos...
  10. 1) If you can get three pictures -- one from the front, as you've done, one from the reverse angle (from the back) and one from the top, looking down onto the straps of the pads -- that would really help narrow it down. Even so, I can speculate a little. 2) Per the original post, remove the thigh-guards attached to the pad of the pads; they are almost certainly cause a large part of that, if not all of it. Thigh-guards attached to the pads can cause tilt issues even without knee-pads; adding knee-pads, as in your case, compounds the problems. 3) If you look at the 'bunny-ear loop' above the buckles on the top straps, your legs are clearly torquing those upper straps significantly. This is often attributed to straps that are too tight, but, as I mentioned above, it has more to do with strap placement than with strap tension; tension will make it worse, but the placement is the governing issue. Since the CCM's have modular (movable) strapping, simply move that upper strap (and possibly the knee-strap below it as well) so that they connect diagonally (ie. angled strapping) downward on the lateral side of the pad (the upper edge in the butterfly). 4) If you take a look at the boots of the pads, they appear to be getting pulled into the floor with a great deal of force. (It's hard to tell; one of the issues with very small lenses is some instability around the edges of the frame.) It is entirely possible that your toe-ties are also too tight, in addition to the above. What's interesting is that the boot of the CCM E-Flex pads is so slightly tapered (probably no more than 5 degrees) and so stiff that even that much pressure can only create a correspondingly tiny degree of 'V-gap' and forward tilt.
  11. Interesting, minnsy: did you put that together, or is James' handiwork? Looks rather like a neat revision of the Warrior Ritual G2 elastic toe/boot strapping. By the way, if anyone's interested in moving from thigh-guards/boards/wraps to knee-pads, I strongly recommend looking at the 2015 CCM 'Pro Knee Pads' (KPPRO). I put up a pretty significant post about them in the 2015 CCM goal-catalogue review on MSH; they look incredible. I'm trying to get my hands on a pair for testing, but let it suffice for now to say that they are a remarkable mix of history and progress, and quit possibly the smartest knee-pad design ever attempted.
  12. Cheers, Hills; I think we've got a really good discussion going here. I don't think it's necessarily that you're doing something 'wrong' in the SMS so much as that you're very good in the VH; by comparison, the SMS seems weaker because you've adapted yourself to VH so effectively. In particular, I would imagine that you've probably got that complex movement off the post from the VH -- starting from a vertical pad and edges with a neutral hip, then internally rotating the hip as the play moves out and pushing seamlessly across -- down to an art at this point. I love watching Lundqvist in the VH, in part, because of the way he rotates his hip to follow the puck as players try to carry it across him; his movement is so coordinated that it's like the pad is magnetised to the puck. I completely agree about getting maximal glove-side aerial coverage in the VH. If a goalie stacks the cuff of his glove on top of a 36"+ pad, there is no shot on the short side: period, from any distance. I agree that good shooters are now deliberately targeting this high, short-side shot on what I'd loosely call 'tight walkouts'; they're not really walkouts, because they're tight enough to the net that they could be a simple wrap/jam, but the shooter's intention is to get enough depth from the goal to rip the puck high short-side as soon as he can find the angle. The thing that interests me about the SMS is that if someone threw a low-angle shot at you from maximum distance (from the corner just above the goal-line), you'd be able to reach up and catch it with an active glove, rather than sitting back somewhat passively in the SMS and 'waiting' for it to enter your glove. I'm oversimplifying here, but I do feel that the SMS allows for a more active glove-hand than the VH; this is part of the reason why, as you cogently indicated, the SMS has a much higher learning curve. If you use the SMS as a 'lazy block' on moderately distant low-angle shots, you're going to get ripped apart; if you use it as an platform from which to make active catches, it's much better. As the puck comes into blocking range, the aerial angle starts to disappear, and the SMS shifts seamlessly into blocking mode. When you flip this to the blocker side, I think we're in agreement that the SMS addresses a lot of the concerns about the blocker-side VH; it doesn't cost you much (if any) aerial blocking coverage, and (again) it really frees up the blocker. What really sold me on the SMS, in fact, was having a friend throw some low-angle shots on the blocker-side, and realizing how much freer and more active my blocker could be in the SMS, as compared with the VH, where it had always seemed kind of far-back and restricted. Your point about using a 'straight butterfly save' on blocker-side low-angle situations is exactly what I've been trying to develop. The common interpretation of a transition to the SMS involves planting the strong (short) side foot against the base of the post and pivoting your whole weight against it; this requires Marsh Pegs, or something comparable, even for strong youth goalies. Instead, I've been advocating for what is, more or less, low-power, controlled butterfly-slide into the base of the post; little more than snapping the strong (short) side knee down in response to a shot (or wrap) and letting the shift in weight carry the toe of the skate (and pad) into the post. (Of course, you can slide in from further out, but I'm talking about handling a purely low-angle play here.) Historically, Quick (like you) began to integrate the SMS asymmetrically. Prior to his Conn Smythe run, he used the SMS on the blocker side almost exclusively, and an incredible version of a paddle-down 'wrap' on the glove-side post. In that position, he kept his glove-side pad close to 60 degrees (inside edge fully engaged, ready to push) but instead of a dead-arm to fill the gap, somehow managed to reach around his pad and 'smother' the aerial angle with his glove. It was an incredible contortion. The reason he switched to a symmetrical SMS, I surmise, is that he realized this paddle-down wrap, as impressive as it was, gave him far worse coverage in every respect, and no more mobility than the SMS. By the time the playoffs came around, he was almost exclusively using the SMS, except for a few stray examples of that glove-side paddle-down 'wrap' manoeuvre. The one thing I'd suggest, as you're working on your movement out of the SMS, is to really focus on your backside skate, i.e. the one not on the post. I've been working with a few goalies (admittedly a lot younger than you!) who were heavily trained (I would say overtrained, by someone else) in the VH, and they've all shared a couple of common symptoms as they started to develop their SMS techniques; I've also noticed these in pro goalies (like Bishop) who were using the VH heavily before switching to SMS-- which, as you've noted, can be tricky. What they all seem to share is a heavy focus (both mental and physical, as in balance) on the frontside (short-side) leg in contact with the post, while the backside leg is largely neglected; it's often left kind of swinging or dangling, rather than engaged on the inside edge of the skate and generating leverage, as Price and Quick use it. I think the reason is that goalies who are used to the VH instinctively want to feel that weak-side (backside) leg as close to the ice as possible; to them, the VH feels exposed because the weak-side knee is up in the air. The trouble is that as you try to lower the weak-side knee, your skate-blade disengages, and the leg is left swinging around on the medial (inside) surface of the cowling. Secondarily, but perhaps more importantly, trying to keep the weak-side knee low to the ice starts to shift the goalie's weight away from the strong (short) side post; this is why, I surmise, goalies who are used to the VH tend to feel like the SMS is weak coming off the post. In part, it's because they're used to pushing from the VH (whatever its drawbacks), but the more interesting thing is that the way they're handling the weak-side leg and skate is actually undermining their ability to explode off the post. When you look at Price and Quick before they push off the post in the SMS, they look coiled: their bodies are full of potential energy in the core, hips, etc. When you look at, say, Bishop, he looks like he's just 'there', and when he tries to move off the post, he kind of wiggles (for lack of a better word-- it's not even really a knee-shuffle) to the opposite post. Now, being 6'9" in socks, he doesn't have far to go, but he just doesn't (at present) display the kind of power that Price and Quick do. Some of that is that he's not as developed an athlete as they are; some of it, as I speculated in the first post, has to do with the fact that his enormous pontoon-feet are pushing him into old-school Tuuk cowlings, so that he gets none of the benefits increased AOA through taller (eg. Step) steel and low-profile (eg. Vertexx) cowlings. In particular, the thing Price does even better than Quick is to use his backside skate to accelerate his movement across the net, to the far post. As a player approaches the strong (short) side post, Price, already in the SMS, will press down on the heel of his backside skate and pivot around the post to square slightly towards the puck; this discourages a short-side jam, and appears (by taking the weak-side (backside) foot and pad away from the weak-side post) to open him up to a fast wrap. He'll then press down sharply on the toe of his backside skate -- in effect, a kind of C-cut -- which powerfully rotates him body and backside skate (now becoming the front-side skate, as the play transitions) towards the weak-side post. The way Price uses the SMS reminds me quite a bit of some of the high-AOA skating demonstrations Jocke Strandberg put out some years back: Especially: But also, for interest: + (What's interesting about these last two is that there's barely any core rotation; Jocke is basically moving straight forwards and backwards in the butterfly with tiny C-cuts) Now, to be clear, I still don't think the 'Duckwalk' is a useful technique in most situations; it opens up too much on the front-side. (It is, however, extremely useful for rapidly changing your squareness in low-angle situations where you're also in danger of over-sliding.) What's really interesting is that the Duckwalk, as performed by Jocke, is basically the SMS in reverse, using the frontside skate instead of the backside skate to control squareness in the butterfly.
  13. Definitely. I have some really good video somewhere; let me dig it up. There's some really fun situational tacticianship involved. The one difficulty is that it is only commonly executed moving from glove-side to blocker-side (glove-to-blocker for short), and while it's never going to be a truly symmetrical technique, it can 'roll both ways'.
  14. Law Goalie

    Starting in Goal as an Adult

    Absolutely. Excerpt: Or you could just remove your toe-ties altogether. I haven't used them in years. I originally took them off for coaching (so I could pop my pads on and off as quickly as possible), but then started using that pair sans toe-ties in a few skates and games, and gradually realised I didn't miss the toe connection at all.
  15. As a follow-up to Hills' well-reasoned concerns about misuse of the SMS, I wanted to through out a couple of videos that speak to one of the dangers of sliding into the post in the SMS, from the very well-respected Dave Wells of Performance Goaltending in Toronto: Now, before you play those videos, bear in mind that these are from 2009, and thus considerably pre-date Dave's work with SMS, and indeed almost anyone else's, even in Sweden. As such, we have to keep that context in mind. These videos showcase one major concern with the SMS: that if you slide hard into the base of the post and make contact at your frontside (lead) toe without active control over your frontside leg and, in particular, without internally rotating the frontside hip to 'flare' out that foot to reach for the post, you run the considerable risk of 'spinning out' on the post into a hugely over square position: in some cases, facing behind the net. In short, if you throw a narrow butterfly into the base of the post, you're probably going to spin out. It's simple physics: conservation of momentum, linear into angular. Unless your frontside (lead) leg acts as a shock-absorber and stabilizer, you're going for a spin. Now, I would argue that the SMS deprecates Dave's clever 2009 solution: sliding into the base of the post with your knee instead of the toe of the skate. Sliding in with the knee does have some advantages: namely, that it gets your shoulder right to the post without any lean, that you can't spin out, so your slide doesn't have to be quite as perfectly accurate as to the toe of the skate and pad together, and you don't have to be quite so athletic with your frontside (lead) foot. However, going knee-to-post has several huge drawbacks. First, you arrive at the post much, much later in the movement: instead of your toe getting there first, you stay vulnerable on the wrap/tap-in, and even to a deflection in off your lead pad, until the moment the knee of your pad gets inside 3" from the post (puck-width). Second, going knee-to-post leaves fully two-thirds of your pad inside the net, instead of extending the entire pad out into the crease. This is one of the greatest strength of the SMS: that it effectively prevents pucks from leaking through the crease to the weak-side far better than any other technique in plays tight to the net. Third, though going knee-to-post gets the shoulder to the post more easily, the coverage on the short-side is no better than a properly-executed SMS, and leaves a lot more room on the weak (far) side if the shooter pulls the puck out and flips it up to the top corner on the other side. Even so, Dave's points about using knee-to-post to push off the post and regain centrality quickly are still very much applicable to the SMS-- indeed, better, since the SMS places the goalie almost two feet further forward in the crease, providing superior depth and better centrality.


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